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"I wish I'd said that."
Oscar Wilde, to a witty remark by James McNeill Whistler

"You will, Oscar, you will!"
James McNeill Whistler, riposte to the above

There Is No Such Thing as Notability, but There IS Such a Thing as Quotability.

You've probably encountered these authors. Somehow, they have managed to be inherently quotable. They are the ones whose sayings adorn the inside pages of books, who appear on t-shirts, whose appearance is almost guaranteed on any Quote Overdosed page or series that makes use of Epigraphs. They will have the largest section on Beam Me Up, Scotty!; in fact, these will be their best known quotes, since a lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes (Mark Twain). Their words tug on the imagination, perhaps more than they do on fact, but hey, imagination is more important than knowledge (Albert Einstein). They also tend to be people to look up to for their intellect; people want to seem witty not just for saying something witty, but also for saying something said by someone witty, even though a witty saying proves nothing (Voltaire). Since most people depend on Small Reference Pools, once someone gets into the popular consciouness, they will circle around it for infinity (Troper).


Efforts to identify the most quoted authors exist, but of course the pool of well-known quotes is in constant flux. Newcomers are sometimes snubbed by those who attribute material to the same stock Authors of Quote when unsure who to credit.


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     Older Than Feudalism  

     Older Than Steam  

  • Thomas Aquinas
  • William Shakespeare. In fact, it is now considered polite to not say "As the Bard said..." because it seems like you're trying to sound impressive for knowing some Shakespeare which is in fact very unimpressive.
    • There is in fact a famous comedy sketch entitled "For You Are Quoting Shakespeare". It focuses not on the iconic lines of his works, such as "to be or not to be", but the lines which are so absolutely popular that they have entered everyday vocabulary. There's a surprisingly large number.
  • Molière : 17th-century French playwright, whose plays have a lot of quotes which entered the French language.


     Older Than Radio  

     Older Than Television (more or less)  



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